By Deborah Davis, Elizabeth Barwick
Predominant Dates:1924-1932, 1960's -1970's
Extent: 20.0 Boxes
Boxes 1-5 contain Correspondence and Minutes dating back to 1918. Both "official" correspondence from the Association officers, and chatty "catch-up with friends" letters from Alumni are included. Edith Patterson, the first long term President of the Alumni Association, served from 1924 to 1932. Her correspondence from 1922 to 1932 (she died in 1933), found in Boxes 3 and 4, include especially vivid letters from the early Alumnae. Included here are speeches, and a History paper by Joseph Kelly on Edith Patterson and the early Alumni Association. See also the Archives Web Page for "Past Pictures: The Edith Patterson Years, 1924-1932." The minutes are found in Box 2 and Box 5.
Boxes 6-10 contain organizational information, outlining the history, concerns, membership and financial records of the Association. Here are found items from plays, membership lists, ledgers, the constitution, special topics and articles. Of particular note are the poems, speeches and essays by Alumni found in this section.
Boxes 11-16 contain the Printed or Published Material from the Alumni Association. The early newsletters varied so much in format and title, that they are listed by year as Printed Material.
Boxes 17 and 18 contain photographic plates and woodcuts used in early Alumni Association publications as well as Alumni Memoirs. The memoirs include publications, pictures, letters, slides, and a box of pictures of Alumni's children.
The SGSNC Alumnae Association began in May of 1918, although some publications put it in 1917. It has continued on to the present day, as the VSU Alumni Association. The VSU Alumni Association collection contains materials from 1918 to the present. The purpose of the association is to keep the school's Alumni involved personally and financially with the college. Thus, the bulk of the collection is correspondence and published newsletters. The early Alumni performed other functions, such as recruiting for the school and funding scholarships.
The correspondence, the bulk of which is from 1924-1932, with years up to 1960 well represented, documents a personal attachment between the alumni and the school and between the alumni and their friends who serve as officers. Many of the presidents of the Alumni Association, such as Edith Patterson, and Mildred Price, were also employees of the college, so they regularly passed on appeals and messages from the President in their letters. Later, an Alumni Council, composed of VSC Faculty served as this link in the 1960's and 1970's. Fluker Stewart was the first Alumni Director and served out of the office of College Relations. The Office of Alumni Relations was formed to assist the Alumni Association in the early 1980's, and many of the current publications of the Alumni Association are now assisted or handled by this Office.
The Publications include early Alumni newsletters, which changed format quite often, and so are listed Alumni Publication, by year. The most frequent title was Alumni News. Later publications are listed by title: Valdosta State College Alumni News 1961-1962; Valdosta State College Newsletter: 1965-1966; Alumni Newsletter Valdosta State College 1966-1974; Alumni Association Newsletter and Alumni Football Newsletter--1981; Valdosta State College Bulletin, 1975-present.
The Association raised and dispersed money for scholarships and alumni entertainment and the records of these transactions, especially in the 1950's and 1960's are included in the Collection. Membership and record keeping were other important functions of the Association, and many folders exist of Membership Lists. In fact, in the 1930's a WPA project traced all graduates of the college to generate a complete alumni list. The WPA project papers are included.
Alumni Memoirs donated to the Archives over the years make up one box, and include slides, publications and photographs; a whole box of photographs capture the children of alumni. The many personal letters in the Correspondence also tell biographical information about the alumni. Two boxes of the collection contain letters to Edith Patterson, from 1922 to 1932, and give rich details of the lives of early alumni.
Official letterhead, invitations and programs, along with the woodcuts and photographic plates used in early printing of alumni publications are included in the Collection.